Fashion designer Adam Lippes doesn’t do gowns. He’s an American sportswear designer who wants women of all sizes to wear his clothes and wear them… without heels.

It’s that commitment to comfort that makes him a perfect advisor for dressing for fall in Seattle. With drizzly mornings leading to sunny afternoons (and often back again), it’s understandable that most women just want to throw on jeans and a sweater and hope for the best.

But there is a way to look a bit more pulled together while still being realistic about the ever-changing weather. At a special showing of his latest collection sponsored by Nordstrom last week, Lippes offered these tips for women who want to look stylish in the rainy season.

Adam Lippes’ Floral Pointelle Cashmere Sweater is an example of a lightweight knit that’s perfect for fall. (Courtesy of Nordstrom)
Adam Lippes’ Floral Pointelle Cashmere Sweater is an example of a lightweight knit that’s perfect for fall. (Courtesy of Nordstrom)

Look to lightweight knits

It’s hard not to love the look of a chunky wool sweater, but when the weather still regularly hits 60 in the afternoon, these bulky laters tend to stay on the shelf.

“People don’t dress for the seasons anymore,” Lippes says. Between office air conditioning, the change in the climate and regular travel, clothes need to be temperature-versatile to be comfortable.

The answer, Lippes says, are lightweight knits that can be worn alone or layered for maximum wearability. Whether merino wool or cashmere, these tops are smooth and stretchy to fit a range of body types, and will provide more warmth than their sleek shape suggests.

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Dress in layers

Layers also help women adjust to changes in their climate, providing both comfort and style. Lippes says an elevated, refined take on comfort can be achieved with thin layers (such as lightweight knits) and the addition of a beautifully tailored blazer.

Invest in a double-faced coat

If you’re upgrading your wool coat this year, Lippes suggests investing in a double-faced coat, which adds a second layer of the outer fabric inside, instead of a traditional lining, for an extremely refined look. You can expect to get 20 years of wear out of a well-made cashmere coat, he says.

“You can wear this coat three seasons a year here, you can travel with it, fold it,” he says.

Adam Lippes’ Marled Wool & Cashmere Crop Cardigan in burgundy is a nice alternative to black and gray clothing. (Courtesy of Nordstrom)
Adam Lippes’ Marled Wool & Cashmere Crop Cardigan in burgundy is a nice alternative to black and gray clothing. (Courtesy of Nordstrom)

Swap black and gray for jewel tones

If you want to expand from a mainly black and gray wardrobe, look to jewel tones, Lippes says, which work well with the black and gray pieces you already own but add some richness and color to your look. Look for forest green, burgundy and deep navy to add color that doesn’t scream out.

Another tip from Lippes: Avoid bulk by buying lightweight pieces in these colors; their hue provides the fall feeling rather than a heavy fabric.

Stock up on core pieces

Streetwear is hot, but Lippes says he’s seeing a swing back toward more polished dressing. Thus, he suggests the following key items for fall:

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• A pencil skirt that falls a bit farther below the knee for a modern take on the classic silhouette.

• A blazer in chocolate or navy, rather than black, to add a bit of fashion while still being versatile and mixing easily with other items in your closet.

• Flat-front wool pants with a wide or straight leg, rather than a skinny leg, which can be worn day or night, to the office or a restaurant.

Practice conscious consumption

Lippes says that buying well-constructed, classic pieces that last is the best form of eco-conscious consumption. “When you buy clothes and keep them and wear them, it’s better for the environment. Even better than buying organic,” he says. “And when you pay for quality, you’re paying for the quality of the fabric and you’re also paying for the lifestyle of the workers who make the garment.”

Lippes’ clothes are designed and made in New York with mainly French and Italian fabrics. They can be found at Nordstromadamlippes.com and bergdorfgoodman.com, with some designs going up to size 22.